Move The UN

Sunday, April 17, 2005

The 1997 Contact with Kofi Annan

Many right wing Americans are calling for the UN to be moved out of the US.

Further the US malAdministration is trying to modify the UN to suit its own agenda.

I think it is for those who support the UN and all its work to start work on moving the UN to a new location outside of the US.

This blog is devoted to discuss this in the light of the historical exploitation of the UN by the US Administration which actually does not deserve to be a member of the UN.

As the first step, I reproduce below my discussion with the UN Secreatry General Kofi Annan from the 1997 Archived Issue of Findians Briefings Volume 03 Issue 08

27th April 1997

Those of you who listened to INTERNATIONAL QUESTION TIME hosted by Geoffrey Stern on BBC World Service on Sunday 27th April, when UN Secretary General, Ghanian Kofi Annan, was answering listeners queries, would have heard former Findians Oy Managing Director, Jacob Matthan, put a question that has been discussed earlier in these pages.

Here is a transcript of the dialogue:

Jacob: "I belong to several professional democratic organisations. If I do not pay my annual membership fee, I first lose my voting rights and then my membership rights. Why cannot it be the same with the UN? It would solve your problems with the US which claims to be a democratic country but which uses all its rights without paying its fees."

Kofi Annan: "I would love to see a bit more spine in the rules we use at the UN which would oblige member states to honour their committment. We do have some of these rules but they are a bit limp.

For example, on the question of contribution, if member states do not pay their contributions and they are two years behind, they will lose their vote. But let us assume that a country that pays a million dollars a year is two million dollars in arrears and is about to lose its vote. They can make a token payment of 50000 dollars or 100000 dollars just to stay below that cieling and continue to vote.

I would have been happier if we had a system where you had to clear the totality of what you owe, or about 50%, to be able to get your vote back. I would be happy if we would be able to charge interest on those member states who owe. But this is not possible because the member states have not agreed to it and, therefore, we do not have the kinds of instruments that almost every private club, or schools, have and so it has been very very difficult to introduce financial discipline with regard to contribution from member states. But perhaps we should not give up.

I would hope that as part of the reform process, member states will rededicate themselves to the ideals of the United Nations and I also urge the populus, civil society and NGOs, parliamentarians, business groups to really come out and support this organisation, which, after all, this organisation is of, we, the peoples of this world. If we do that we can press the Governments not only to rededicate themselves to the ideals of the UN but also to commit themselves to meet their legal obligations in full and on time."

Geoffery: "Mr. Matthan, Are you happy with that answer?"

Jacob: "Well, there are two ambiguities there that in the sense that the US has been pushing the UN Secretary General towards financial stringency and does not meet ITS committment, and secondly, if I look at the web page about the United Nations, I find that the US takes more than it gives to the UN."

Kofi Annan: "Oh, I agree with you that by the sheer fact that we are based in New York, we put a lot into the US economy. There are a 185 permanent missions, they rent office premises, they rent accommodation or residential premises, or buy them, they employ thousands of people, the US gets a lions share of UN procurements, which in effect is that the US gets MORE THAN IT GIVES to the United Nations. I think the US Government, President Clinton and his team, have realised that the UN is important to the US and that without an effective United Nations the world would be worse off. And he is determined to pay the arrears and is working hard with Congress. And I have been to Congress to talk to them. We are not there yet. I think we have some support but we have some doubters on The Hill and I would hope that in time we will get the money paid. But it is not a question of a one time payment. It has to be sustained support for the organisation by all member states, and US being the biggest contributor, if it does not pay, it really hurts and crimples our operations. There is no doubt about that."

We have had uneducated US citizens, usually of the right wing who have no notion of the reality on the ground, calling for the UN to be moved from the US. I fully agree with this, but for a different purpose.

The recent move by pResident Bush to nominate a man who is a bully to be the US Ambassador to the UN, a man who does not believe that the UN exists, is a move to destroy the UN.

This was reinforced by a statement yesterday by the US Secreatray of State, Condoleeza Rice, who wants the UN to change or DIE.

This prompted me to send this email to Senator Barbara Boxer:
Dear Barbara,

It is truly amazing what Condoleeza Rice has said today about the UN.

Rice: UN Needs Overhaul to 'Survive as Vital Force' "

Her "agent for MURDER" appears to be John Bolton!

Does Condoleeza Rice really believe that the world is going to revolve around her wishes?

You were truly great in handling that awful bully and coward, John Bolton, in the hearings last week which was watched by many thousands of us across the world.

I do hope that you will get the figures of how much the UN operations in New York pumps into the US economy, in terms of jobs for US people, contracts for US companies, as well as the spending power (housing, food, transport, energy bills, etc.) of diplomats from over 190 countries. Plus there is the bonus of tourism inputs to the US economy.

When Kofi Annan answered me on this question on the BBC programme called "Talking Pints" over a decade ago, the figures were that the US GOT MORE than it PUT IN!!

May I quote William Luers
"The United Nations has brought enormous prestige to this already prestigious city," said William Luers, of the United Nations Association of the United States , a private group. The UN contributes some $2.5 billion a year in economic activity to the city, he points out, and is responsible for about 18,000 jobs."

The bulk of these 18,000 jobs have gone to US Nationals.

Consider that the US gross contribution is just US $3 billion - the net of just half a billion dollars. And even here, by not paying on time, it hampers and disrupts the legitimate work of the UN, adding significantly to the operational cost.

Any additional contributions by US are usually at questionable "low interest" loans, with that low interest being is as high as 5.5%!! Even I, as a private citizen, can borrow money at rates lower than that.

I am sure countries as India or China would be very happy to host the UN. With the cultural behaviour of friendliness to visitors of all creeds, colour, origins, in these countries, it would be a far better solution than having the UN located in the hostile country such as the US, constantly being pressured by the "mafia of death".

With the significantly lower cost of living in these countries and with the availability of an abundant supply of highly educated "secular" professionals, operations costs of the UN would also be significantly lower.

And would it not reduce the "terror risk" in the US?

I think we should agree to Condoleeza Rice's reform by moving the UN OUT OF THE US - the best possible solution for people in this world who believe in peace and justice - and the world could keep criminals like Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Bolton, Negroponte, Alberto Gonzales, from entering the hallowed and sacred walls of the UN.

I write this in memory of great minds as Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, who would have been in favour of moving the Un to more conducive and friendly surroundings than the evil empire of the US.

Yours faithfully
Jacob Matthan
Oulu, Finland

May I ask all of you to inform the Right Wing Organisation Move America Forward to make more noise to get the UN out of the US. . It was reported in the Chicago Report that an Advocacy Group Creates Petition Drive to Move U.N. Out of U.S.
Move America Forward is a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization committed to supporting America's efforts to defeat terrorism and supporting men and women of America's Armed Forces. Over the weekend I caught the organization's founder on cable news and I was pleased to see that there appears to be a legitimate organized movement to move the U.N. out of the U.S. Such (an) organization is long overdue, and can unite various groups on the Right under a common cause for American sovereignty to remove the morally and politically illegitimate United Nations off of American soil.

Maybe we can be united in this one purpose, although it is for different end results.


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